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Martin Nazaretyan – 64

Martin lost his apartment during the earthquake. In addition, he was severely injured. The government assigned temporary housing, a wooden structure with no conveniences (called a domik). However, the doctors were not sure Martin world live, he spent several months in the hospital and by the time he got out, someone else had moved into the place assigned to Martin. A long path from there led Martin to the Nursing house. In spite of government expectations, Martin lived. When he was discharged from hospital, he found himself homeless and in the street. Staying here and there, with different relatives he tried to clarify the status of his former domik as well as getting something for the future. After much trouble and fuss he was offered another domik, this time a metallic one – a shelter with no water, no electricity, no gas, not even a lock on the door. “It is the single chance and opportunity, you may either agree or disagree and survive as you can” – these were the last words of the official dealing with housing problems. “Martin, no way”, I was thinking myself,” you have no right to give up”. He continued to knock on more and more bureaucratic doors. Later, probably to get rid of him, they offered to move him to the Nursing Home temporarily until better solution could be found.

Traditionally people here take care of the elderly and live in the same household, under the same roof, often situating two or three, even sometimes four generations.

I was thinking this would be a place for lonely people and I could never ever think that I might end up here - the last “shelter” of my life. However, I agreed that this was the best choice at that time, for my situation and condition. Being independent by my nature I had difficulties staying with relatives though they were very good to me. I have now been here more than 10 years. I have changed my attitude. I am comfortable with everybody and everything here. Now even if I were offered a very nice apartment with the best conditions, I would never move. Here I feel a spiritual richness. I will never change with any golden cage. Here I feel happier because I have friends with the same interests, almost of same destiny. Each and every ritual, routine activity, everybody’s condition has become so familiar to me.
Staff members and residents care for each other just like members of an extended family.

All this leads to the most important thing, reminding me that I am not the only one in the universe and this feeling elevates my condition somehow.”
Martin is an interesting speaker; he graduated from two institutes and continuously is improving himself. He has reread several times all the books of the library.

Before I left he added: “Although I found some happiness and feel better here, I wish for you that you do not end in the same condition as me. I wish you to taste and enjoy life in full.” I was very impressed by Martin’s story and his good wishes for me. Thanks Martin!





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